Tuesday, January 29, 2008
A great tutorial on how to silk-screen from the craftzine.com blog
Print your designs on anything you can hang, wear, or tote. A special 101 from CRAFT vol 1: CRAFT 01 (subscription information).
Silk-screening is a great way to personalize your gear. It's a very basic process that has unlimited outcomes. One of the easiest ways to get a design on almost any surface is to use the photo emulsion process. Once you've made the screen, it's ready to print time and time again. Follow along as I walk my colleague Sara Huston through the process of transferring our design to a screen, and printing it on a laptop bag.
Work up an idea for your design. On your first attempt, try a one-color design, keep it simple, and have some fun with it. Once you get it figured out, make your design digital. Sara and I created ours in Illustrator, but you can also scan a drawing. If you are really hands-on, you can draw straight onto transparency paper using India ink. You need a solid black positive to burn into the screen. I print on transparencies, using a black and white laser printer. This gives me an easy way to accurately, cheaply, and quickly create a positive.
Gather» diazo photo emulsion made by
» 8"x10" silk screen
» 8"x10" piece of glass
» task lights (2)
» 150-watt bulbs (2)
» transparency paper for black and white copier/laser printer
» silk-screen inks (createx and speedball have worked well for me)
» lid to ikea bin for stretching shirt over, or other hard flat surface you can slip into a shirt
» fan (i use a small vornado)
» diazo photo emulsion remover (if you want to clean your screen and start over)
More: Go to craftzine.com/01/101 for more designs to print.
Step 1: Prep the Screen
Mix the photo emulsion as per the directions.
Coat the screen with photo emulsion, working fairly quickly over a sink or surface you can get messy. It's OK to have indoor lights on during this process, but keep out of direct sunlight. The emulsion needs to be applied evenly, so keep flipping the screen over and squeegeeing until the emulsion is even on both sides. Any globs will cause uneven exposing and will mess up your end result. The thicker the emulsion is applied, the longer the screen will have to be exposed.
The screen needs to be completely dry in order to expose it, and should be dried in a pitch-black room. I dry my screen by resting the wood frame on a couple of shoe boxes in the closet, so that the screen is parallel to and above the floor. This allows the air to flow above and below the screen to help it dry faster. Make sure that only the frame touches the boxes, so as not to mess up the nicely applied emulsion. You can place a fan (I use Vornado because they are compact) next to the screen. Drying it this way takes 30 minutes to an hour, depending on humidity.
Step 2: Expose the Screen
Now that it is dry, place the screen on your workspace with the bottom facing down. Put your transparency on the screen in the center and as squarely as you can, then place a piece of glass on top. This holds your transparency down so that it makes direct and even contact with the screen. If it doesn't make direct contact, then your design will appear fuzzy around the edges.
The light source needs to be placed about 12 inches from the screen to get good results, and it needs to shine evenly across your design. I use two $10 task lights. These are great because they allow me to easily adjust my light source, and by having two, one on either side of the screen, we can make sure the entire design gets an even, direct supply of light. Follow the directions that came with the emulsion for exposing your screen. It varies with the bulb and screen size. I'll burn our screen for about 30 minutes. You can tell when the screen is done by looking: the exposed areas turn dark green when they are baked solid by the light.
Tip: For a super-dense positive, make two transparencies with your design on them. Line them up and attach them together with double-sided tape.
Step 3: Wash and Dry Screen
Now that the screen is exposed, wash it off in the sink with hot water. It takes some force to wash the screen effectively. I've attached a special nozzle to my faucet that creates higher pressure. (I got a nozzle at Bed Bath & Beyond for $5. Just screw it on and it'll toggle between high and low. Works great for dishes too; I leave it on all the time.)
Along with spraying, you can gently rub the screen with your fingers. Don't use your fingernails. If you force the emulsion off, you run the risk of tearing off the hardened emulsion, putting you back to step 1. You want only the unexposed area to wash off. Under hot water, the emulsion will become slightly gummy. Drying the screen isn't such a big deal this time around, now that it isn't sensitive to light. Prop it up against the fan, or place it where it can get some air. Silk dries quickly.
Step 4: Print It
Now that the screen is exposed, washed, and dried, print it and see how it works. Try it out on paper first.
Lay the screen down flat, making sure that your surface is even and flat.
With a spoon, put a glob of paint on the screen and spread it the width of your design. Don't get any on the design itself, just the area above it.
Now the fun part. Hold the screen down firmly with one hand (or have a buddy help hold it). Use a squeegee to pull the ink down to the bottom of the screen. Apply a small amount of pressure to the squeegee as you pull the ink. You will be able to see the paint evenly distributed across the screen.
Lift the screen and look at your beautiful print! Be very careful when you lift off the screen. Try to peel it slowly and directly up, so you don't smudge the fresh ink. It may want to stick to the paper.
It's as easy as that! Lay the screen down on another piece of paper and do a few more prints for fun.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Triple Layer Thin Mint Pie
1 box Thin Mint cookies (32 cookies)
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups cold milk
2 packages (4-serving size each) Jell-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 tub (12 oz.) Cool Whip Whipped Topping, thawed, divided use
Remove 10 cookies and set aside. Crush or process remaining cookies, then mix them with the butter. Press firmly onto bottom and up side of 9-inch pie plate. Pour milk into large bowl. Add both boxes of pudding mix and beat with wire whisk 2 minutes or until well blended. (Mixture will be thick.) Spoon out 1 1/4 cup of pudding into another bowl and stir in peppermint extract. Pour peppermint pudding mixture over crust. To remaining pudding mix, add in 1 cup of whipped topping. Spread the pudding/whipped topping layer of the mint layer. Chop remaining cookies and combine them with about 2 ½ cups (doesn’t have to be precise) whipped topping. Spread this mixture over the top. The pie might look kind of messy at this point, so clean up the edges. Chill for 4 hours or until set
To garnish, place remaining whipped topping in a plastic zipper bag. Snip off a corner of the bag (about ½ inch up from corner) and squeeze whipped topping around sides decoratively. To make thin zig-zags, pour COLD chocolate syrup into a small zipper bag. Snip a very, very tiny cut off the bottom corner and drizzle away! Makes 8 servings
Peanut Butter Ribbon Cookies
Peanut Butter Ribbons:
2 tablespoons peanut butter chips
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 teaspoon butter (sliced from a stick)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Devils Food)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons lightly beaten egg
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Prepare Peanut Butter Ribbons first. Line a plate with wax paper. In a small, microwave-safe bowl (I used a custard cup), combine peanut butter chips, peanut butter and butter. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Spoon the peanut butter mixture onto the wax paper lined plate. I spooned it into a 2 inch wide line, but do it any way you like. Place in refrigerator to firm up. This takes about 30 minutes.
In a medium size microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter. Stir in the cake mix, brown sugar and 2 tablespoons egg. At this point, the dough might be too warm to add the chocolate chips, so chill it for about 20 minutes then stir in the chips. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and have ready a parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheet. I think an ungreased sheet would work too.
Remove the now-firm peanut butter mixture from refrigerator and slice it into little ribbons of different sizes. Mine were mostly about 1/3 of an inch wide by 1 ½ inches long. Don’t try to be precise, just go with the flow. Using a tablespoon, scoop up chocolate dough and shape it into a round of about 1 ¼ inches. Break the round in half and nestle a ribbon of peanut butter in the center. Enclose the ribbon in peanut butter and put on a cookie sheet. Repeat to make about 7 cookies. Lay another ribbon of peanut butter across unbaked dough rounds.
Bake for 10 minutes or until dough appears set. Remove from oven and quickly lay another ribbon (or two) over hot cookies. Do this decoratively and artfully. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 2 or 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool and set. The peanut butter mixture will firm up as it sits. Makes about 7 cookies